Friday Firesmith – Cul de Sac

One of the things you might not know about me is I love comic strips. This started out as a love for reading, and newspapers were something I read as a child, but some newspapers had better comic strips than others. My hometown newspaper, the Early County news, didn’t have comics but it rarely had news for that matter. The Albany Herald, which was my maternal grandmother’s favorite paper, had decent enough comics, but the Americus Times had even better comics than anyone else in the area. The Atlanta Journal Constitution had a decent selection but the newspaper with the real punch when it came to comics was the Jacksonville Times Union. That newspaper rocked when it came to comics.

I read Doonesbury for the first time in the AJC. I read Calvin and Hobbes for the first time in the Jacksonville Times Union. My first favorites were Nancy and Peanuts and Mark Trail. In the early 90’s I went over to the dark side and started reading comics online. That’s when I discovered that in order to really enjoy my comics every day, there were those who had to be sacrificed in the name of time.

I dropped Luanne when she became a beauty queen instead of a slightly chubby misfit. I dropped Peanuts when it became reruns and Charles Shultz was dead. I dropped Family Circus when it was just the same thing over and over. Lynn Johnson finally stopped For Better or Worse and after Farley died, I had to leave it rather than go through that again. I quit Bloom County twice. I finally stopped reading The Phantom when it went into reruns, and this was one I loved from the 60’s.

Today, I had to drop Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson. This is about the second time around in reruns, but it’s not like Thompson up and quit like Bill Watterson did. Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 2012. He stopped because he had to, and attempts to keep the strip alive failed.

Richard Thompson was a man of very rare genius in an art form that has defied death for decades now.

I can remember reading comic strips when I first began reading, back in 1964. The Sunday comics was a big deal, a very big deal, because of color, which is cheap and easy now, but at one time was a once a week thing. I read all the comics strips on Sundays, even those that didn’t interest me much because reading was something I did. Over fifty years later, I still read comic strips but the medium has changed, and evolved, or at least changed.

Richard Thompson will be missed. Just like the others that came and went before him, just like the readers that come and go, the comic strips and their fans rise and fall, as do mediums and fashions, colors and punch lines, and sight gags. The world of Comic Strips will endure, or they won’t, but the human beings that have made them what they are on both sides of the pages are not eternal.

Click to enlarge.
 Genius never dies. Art lives on forever. Richard Thompson will never be forgotten.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Wrex

Four years ago, or nearly four years ago, August of 2014 to be exact, I fostered a little brown and white puppy for the Humane Society. Everyone here loved him, Lucas, Sam, and Lilith, well, not so much Lilith because she’s always hated foster dogs for some reason. Maybe she likes the idea of having a permanent family rather than temporary, but Lilith is Queen of The Hickory Head Pack.

Rex, who soon underwent a name change to Wrex, because he broke things, was a great dog, even though he broke things. Let’s face it, kids and dogs will destroy stuff and if you rather have stuff than kids and dogs I’m down with that, totally, but don’t have kids or dogs and get abusive when your stuff gets chewed up or broken. So Wrex also got caught licking the dishes in the sink. He somehow managed to jump up on the counter silently and land on a slick and smooth surface without knocking anything over. I must admit I was impressed.

Wrex got adopted at his second event. I knew it was going to happen, but at the same time, it was hard to let the little guy go. I fall in love fast and hard when it comes to dogs, and I sat in my truck and cried.

Throughout the last four years or so, I was told by my Humane Society friends that Wrex had been picked up as a stray more than once, but his family came and got him each time. I tried very hard not to be involved in what was happening because I know how difficult it can be to keep a dog inside a fenced-in area if that dog wants out.

On the fourth of January, 2017, events unfolded, which I will not comment on, and Wrex was returned to the Humane Society. The call went out for someone to foster Wrex.

I sent a message to the woman in charge of fostering and asked her if I could get Wrex back and she joyously agreed. I picked Wrex up the next day. It took a minute but suddenly he realized who I was. There was face licking. Okay, this is not where the story ends. On the first day that I had Wrex I stopped by Beth’s house so she could meet him and he sprung over a six-foot-tall gate and was gone. He didn’t go far but he displayed superior leaping talent. This was something to consider. Also, I already have four dogs; Lilith, who didn’t like Wrex before, Tyger Linn, who has been known to have socialization issues, and the Cousin Dogs, Greyson Charlotte and Marco Ladakh, whose temperament with new dogs had not been tested. The bottom line was, and always will be, Wrex had to get along inside the pack or I could not keep him. And he had to stay inside the fence.

The Friday that I picked him up and brought him home there was the usual butt sniffing by the other dogs, and the expected keep out of my space type drama, but nothing serious and nothing really loud. The next day we spent the entire day in the yard because I had some stuff to burn and very slowly the other dogs began to get used to Wrex and Wrex to his new home. There was no fighting or biting, and Wrex stayed inside the fence when I left and went to work Monday.

After three weeks of evaluating Wrex and his interactions with the Hickory Head Pack, I went to Petsmart where the adoption events take place and adopted Wrex Wyatt Firesmith.

And now, this is how the story ends. Wrex is home.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – One Flu Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

A Friday morning or two ago, I started feeling bad and it got worse as the day went on. Saturday I didn’t feel well at all and Sunday the decline began. Monday I was in full blown Flu Symptoms; congestion, headache, fatigue, and generally feeling terrible. Monday night I took some sleep meds and some flu meds, and as I laid me down to sleep the world took a turn for the surreal.

“Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends, we’re glad you could attend, come inside, come inside…”

Phosphenes are those images you see when you close your eyes. Not to be confused with floaters, which are those things you see in front of your eyes when your eyes are open, but phosphenes are not normally lucid or clearly defined.

At first, it seemed to be a sort of medieval tapestry being passed in front of my eyes, too close for me to tell what it was and too fast to really see anything but small sections of images. There seemed to be words, letters, pieces of a map, images of a man rowing a boat, buildings, and machines or devices, drawn in incredible detail, whose function I could not guess. There was a woman with a cloak and a hood in a field, and the images showed her throwing seed or spells, with her right hand.

There seemed to be great blobs of dark purple ink being dropped into the phosphenes, and they swirled and partially blocked the other images as if they were there to prevent me from seeing what I had seen. They twisted and expanded, yet they were temporary and fleeting. The images faded into colors and eventually, I went to sleep.

Then things got very strange.

Okay, I take sleep meds and we all have heard what wonderful and exciting side effects there are sometimes. I was taking Ambien and woke up in my truck, with the engine running, and naked. These were new meds, however, and my body reacted splendidly. I woke up and thought I was at my girlfriend’s house. But my clock was there. And the light in the window looked odd. I remembered, very clearly I remembered being at a party with her. I had too much to drink so stayed over. My truck was still at the house where the party had been, and I had to go get it. Except…

I was in my own bed in my own house and had not left it. But the memories were still there.

I spent most of the week sitting up in bed watching a Cardinal bang himself against the window, and wondering if I was hallucinating it. The dogs curled up with me, and even though it was down below freezing outside, I had body heat to keep me warm. I ran a fever, sweated, felt cold, sweated, coughed until I cried, and simply lay still for about three days.

I came out of it after nearly a week, and my advice to you if you get it is to stay down and stay under covers. If you haven’t gotten it yet, wear a mask and gloves and bathe yourself in pure alcohol twice a day.

This flu season is nasty people.

Anyone else have it?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Whenever

For a little over five years now I’ve been doing “Friday Firesmith” and until I am fired or tired I’ll keep writing. Someone asked me how I keep going after so long and the answer is as simple and as complex as you would like for it to be; I write.

No one ever questions if they’re going to eat unless they’re out of food, and no one ever questions if they’ll breathe or if their heart will pump blood, or if they’ll see reflected light and translate that into reality. It’s just something that is automatic and it’s natural. That’s part of what I do and how it’s done. To me, writing is as easy as breathing. That’s one part of it.

The other side of the coin is… writing is hard work. Letters become words, words become sentences, sentences become paragraphs, and… then they are deleted or rewritten. This happens more than you can know unless you write. Or paint, or sculpt, or do anything that demands that it say what you want it to say. It’s hard work. To me, it’s always a trade-off. I get what I put into it. I receive the water pumped, the wood chopped, the grapes from the vine, or I don’t. But that first step must be taken. That first word must be written. The beginning must start somewhere and then the real work begins of putting an idea together that makes sense.

About two out of every three “Friday Firesmith” essays lives to see the internet. The rest are deleted. About one out of every five that live to see the internet began with me having no idea at all what I was going to write until I wrote it. This is one of these.

The big issue with most people is having time to write. I try to write during lunch at work and usually I get to but there seem to be people who want to socialize at lunch so sometimes I get shot down before I get started. If I can get somewhere with a laptop and fifteen minutes I can get one of these started, edited somewhat, and start the rewrite. I’m the world’s worst editor and it’s a constant fight trying to make sure I got everything right before Jon sees it. He’s good about making sure things are reasonably good before they go to print.

To date, Jon’s only squashed two essays; the first because of the sexual nature of the essay, which I wondered if it was too much, and it was, and the other because it started a fight that needed to be quelled before it got weird. I never argue with Jon’s judgment. I know how hard it is to keep a website running and managing as many people as he has here. It’s harder than most people think. Try it, if you don’t believe me. Also, despite the fact that both of us are online entities, we’re actually both adults and can disagree with one another and it not turn into a third-grade playground name calling IQ killing screaming match.

Just sayin’.

If you want to write, or paint, or make wine from grapes, you have to start doing it. You will be terrible at it. Your writing will sound like a beginner wrote it, your painting will look as if someone just started painting did it, and your wine will taste horrible. You have to get over it. You have to keep going. If you quit you can’t. Just because you can’t, doesn’t mean you have to quit.

I wrote this in two different parts and edited it on a dark and stormy night. When I started I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say, but I think it’s, “If you want to write, it is both as natural as breathing and as hard as farming.”

I recommend both farming and writing to teach humility. You can never truly master either.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Dating in 2018

I have a tendency towards isolation. I like the woods. I like dogs. I like the idea that nearly every delivery service on earth cannot find my house. Well, I don’t like that very much, actually, but I like being hard to find. I like classical music and I like venomous snakes. I’m not a big fan of people. Oddly enough, I evolved towards dating on the internet rather than in bars or churches, or random meetings in places that are odd.

Hear me out. First off, in a bar or a church you’re going to meet someone, maybe buy drinks, maybe sing a psalm together or something like that. Honestly, I have no idea at all of what people do in churches, but sooner or later you’re going to go out on a date, and if you do the dinner and a movie thing you’re going to drop close to one hundred bucks. So you like her, she likes you, her cats didn’t hiss at you, your dog licked her in the mouth and she didn’t freak out, so off you go, seeing one another every weekend, and suddenly, six months later, you’re still dropping about two hundred a month on food and movies, and going out and doing stuff. All in all, you’re out over twelve hundred bucks or so, if you’re lucky, and then she drops you because your dog clearly has issues and suddenly you’re sitting in front of the television wondering if you ought to get drunk or get saved, and start all over again.

But suppose you’re meeting a woman online, and you like her, she likes you, and you spend an hour every night trading emails or texts, or photos that both of you hope and pray won’t come back to haunt you and suddenly, you’re thinking airline tickets. Three or four hundred bucks and you’re there or she’s here, and you go out, then go back to the apartment or house, and because you know damn well it’s going to be a while, you have wild passionate sex and after a long weekend she’s gone or you’re gone, and you know it’s going to be six months before you do it again.

See the price difference? Internet dating, even if she lives across the country, is actually cheaper than dating someone from your hometown.

I’ll admit, that seeing someone you like or even love twice a year is going to be a drag. But you have all that free time, and you’ll never have to worry about lid down lid up debates at three in the morning with someone who sat in cold water. Also, you don’t have to worry about house cleaning except twice a year or so.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to go to churches or bars, and you will save even more money not tipping or tithing.

The downside to all of this is not having instant access to someone who can hold your hand, listen to you bitch, or simply hold you when the world sucks. When someone tells you they’re in love with you in an instant message, no matter how many hearts they stick in the message, it really isn’t the same as someone telling you that when you’re both breathless from having sex on the floor because you really couldn’t wait to get on the bed on a Wednesday night when you were just supposed to be having tacos.

As a solitary animal, I evolved away from internet dating, simply because it appeals to a solitary animal, and that’s not really any way at all to look for love in 2018, or any other year.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Artistic Criminals

Fortunately for the furniture in a bar, I’ve never had anyone argue with me about Charles Manson’s music transcending the crimes he did. Unfortunately for a friendship long ago, I did have someone try to argue that the good Michael Jackson’s music did transcend his penchant for having sleepovers with little boys. “It’s really quite charming” Michael Jackson once said about the sleepovers, but I disagree.

As a writer, I can tell you there’s a link between the stuff that’s in the human mind trying to get out, and the urge to make it stop by soaking it in alcohol. Or pot. Or pills. Or an excess of nearly any sort. For my part, I can forgive a certain level of substance abuse simply because I’m familiar with it, and in the long run, even non-creative types have been known to swim in the bottle.

When Jackson Browne was arrested for domestic violence in the 90’s, accused of beating up his then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah, his brand took a hit also. He blamed it on cocaine, which I am no fan of at all, and Browne went from someone who seemed to be down to earth and an artist to just another overpaid singer with an attitude problem. Still, I cannot listen to the song, “That Girl Could Sing” without remembering a woman I once loved and loved hard.

If you really want to get into an argument that will last to the end of a friendship, bring up Roger Waters, one of the founders of Pink Floyd, and the state of Israel. To me, someone can be against the political stance of the government of Israel, and not be anti-Semitic. There’s a fine line there, to be sure, but the government of Israel does not represent the whole of the Jewish people everywhere. I also think it is very difficult to separate the politics of a musician and the music. Waters doesn’t get a pass from me because there are a half-dozen albums he’s played on that I consider some of the best music on earth, however. He’s said some things that make me wonder if he remembers his father was killed fighting Nazis.

Hunter S Thompson was a journalist whose drug-fueled writings for Rolling Stones magazine were nothing short of legendary. Thompson rode with the Hell’s Angels, was nearly beaten to death by them, waged an unrelenting war against Richard Nixon, fired off a few rounds at John Denver, literally, and then killed himself at age sixty-seven. Thompson played the guitar, albeit poorly, but at the same time, he’s a great example of how far I’m willing to go in overlooking someone’s faults because I admire their work. It doesn’t make me less of a hypocrite to admit to being one in this case, but I would hope that this might lend itself to debate on how we idolize those who sing and play and write and the fact that talent doesn’t bring forth morality or ethical behavior. I think we should stop expecting it to, simply enjoy the music, to a degree, and stop treating these people as gods.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – 2018

2017 is coming to an end, mercifully, and we can now stand in our homes with alcohol in hand, and consider the possibilities of a New Year, and hopefully not have a gun in the other hand when we do it.

Okay, that was way over the top and dramatic, let’s try this again, without the hyperbole.

2017 is coming to an end and we can now stand in our homes, or in bars, or in crowds, and consider the possibilities of 2018.

There are people here who are considering children. There may be those among us who already carry a new baby inside of their bodies, and 2018 will see new births and new birthdays. There may be someone here who is pregnant right now and who doesn’t realize it, and at some point in September, the baby will be born.

There are those people here who will get a new dog, or a cat, or maybe a snake. But imagine how your life is right now, and in less than a year you might be posting a photo of yourself and a dog you don’t know right now, and you’ll have a new friend for the rest of his or her life.

There might be people here who will write in a comment, “I really liked what you had to say, could we trade emails and ideas?” and human friendship might be found, yes here, because there are no boundaries when minds meet, who knows, perhaps two people will meet here and from this one meeting there will be more, much more, and babies and dogs and September, you know.

It’s true, we may lose someone here, for no life goes on forever. It would be odd for one of the “regulars” to go missing, but imagine how the family will feel if we send a card or flowers, and they will realize this is not just the internet but an odd sort of family of its own, and each of us has offered a piece of their lives in sharing their thoughts and memories here.

We are likely to pick up new people, someone who has watched but never spoken, who right now (this is your cue, come on, go for it) who will appear to say, yes, I am a part of this too, and I would miss someone who was here and then was gone.

Somewhere out there, for some of us, is new love yet to be found. There is someone out there you have never met, yet you will always remember the first time you kissed that person. Somewhere out there is a union, before civil law or religion, and there are those who will be joined this year. Somewhere out there, someone’s child will drive for the first time, someone’s baby will walk for the first time in 2018, someone will lose their virginity and someone will graduate from college, with honors, and maybe we’ll get a photo of these events (not losing your virginity, Jon has another site for that, but hey, thanks for the thought)

Welcome to the last Friday Firesmith of the year 2017. I hope 2018 brings you love and happiness, and a new dog.

And I do not say this enough, Thank you.

Happy New Year,
Mike Firesmith

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Edge of Nightshift

One of the stranger things I have ever seen in my life was what I witnessed a weekend ago, at least I think it was the weekend, it might have been a Thursday, today is Thursday, isn’t it? Nevermind. Time and dates become an abstract when a body works twelve hours shifts six days a week at night. I’ve learned to do laundry when I wake up and put the still warm clothes on out of the dryer. Yes, I have worn the same shirt, jeans, socks, and hoodie, for about two weeks now. I think it’s been two weeks. It very well may have been fifteen years because it certainly feels like it sometimes.

I was going somewhere with a train of thought. I’m sure of it.

Three of us got into a conversation one night about something that was coming up in the week and all three of us missed what day of the week it was. I was close. I thought it was Monday but it was Tuesday. The other two men thought it was Sunday. Listening to us have a conversation is like that “Who’s on first?” thing except we make a hell of a lot less sense.

There it is, in the first paragraph, I saw something strange. Yes, I have it now. I was going down the road with my Bang in hand, and by the way, Bang energy drinks will rock you. No, I still have the thought… the traffic light fell. Yes, dropped to the ground as I approached. The lights stayed on but they were on the pavement.

The idea that I might be hallucinating did occur to me but there they were. It was dark, and I was a good half mile away, and when I arrived there was a young man exiting a Toyota whose nose was buried in a utility pole. I went over to see if he was okay and he said, “Damn! Did you see that? The traffic lights fell down? I had to swerve to miss it!”

And that is, kinda, what I did see, but I was a good piece away.

The cops get there and they aren’t buying the story at all.

Cop One: They fell? The lights fell?
Cop Two: Really? They fell down?
Guy: Yeah, they fell right down.
Me: Did they have a Capissen 38 Mark II engine?
Cop One:
Cop Two:

Okay, sleep deprivation will make you say stuff out loud your mind knows better than to release into the wild. Now both cops are looking at me like, “Where in the name of Timothy Leary did this one come from?”

But another cop shows up and he asks, very pointedly, “Tell me again what happened?”
And the Guy looks at me as if he’s hoping for more random movie quotes and says, “Uh, I dodged the falling red light.”

Cop Three: See that pole over there, the one with the camera on it? (Guy winces) Look at this video on my phone. You ram the pole, the lights fall down. Step over here, please, sir.

But seriously: Have you ever in your whole life seen anyone tell a lie that truly unique that quickly ever?

I rob a bank… he’s coming with me.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Night Shift 2

Night Shift is a brutal environment. Some people I have known in my life thrived in it, enjoyed it, and couldn’t get enough of working the graveyard shift. I’m not a big fan of it at all, except you can bet there’s not going to be too many people messing with you at three in the morning. There is some insulation to be found in the darkest of hours and the latest of nights. There’s a lot to be said for isolation or at least solitude, in my opinion, but then again, I live alone so I am used to it.

I’m usually good up until about two in the morning. Two is when my reserves start running out and it seems like six will never arrive. Four hours is a very long time to be tired, and sleepy, and by that time I am very tired and very sleepy. The population of the world I work in begins to flatline to zero, practically, and the music on the radio seems stale and worn.

At five, the fast food place that has good bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits opens up and they’re running a special. I need food. This is just a step away from junk food, and I know it, but I have to eat. The lights come on as I pull up and I realize they’re getting a late jump on things. The menu board outside isn’t lit up and as I order the woman on the other end seems distracted. Two biscuits, thank you and no combo and do not supersize it and no I do not want coffee or hash browns or a collie dog as a mascot. But thanks for asking.

The woman hesitates before she takes my money, “I’m really sorry,” she tells me, “but we’re running behind. It’s going to be a while before your order is ready.” She looks back as if to make sure no one hears her, “You still want it?”
“Sure,” I reply and she makes change. I pull into a parking slot and go inside.

Once inside I can tell she’s ready for the angry customer who is out of patience and hungry. It’s five in the damn morning. But just a couple of hours before this a crescent moon rose, and as tired and sleepy as I was, it looked like the Universe was grinning at me.

“Have you ever seen one of those little yappy dogs, the fuzzy ones, who act like they’re going to eat you alive when they’re on the other side of a fence?’ I ask.
“Uh, yeah, I have,” the woman says and she laughs at this, a little, not quite knowing where I might be going here.

“When someone wants to take it out on you, whatever is going wrong in their lives, just think of them as one of those dogs, because when they have this counter between you and them it’s what they are when they’re angry,” I tell her.

She laughs hard at this. “Yeah, I can see that.” And she goes to check on the food, still laughing.
There was nothing I could say and nothing I could do that would have made the food arrive faster. I could have fussed at her, acted like it was the worst thing ever, threatened to call in an air strike on the place, and maybe she would have gotten mad, maybe she would have felt bad, or maybe it would have just been another mad person and another bad day. But the Universe had smiled at me, in the wee hours of the night, and I decided, as tired as I was, to smile back.

Smile back at the Universe.

You may be the only smile a person like that sees all day.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Night Shift

We go in at seven in the evening, and the sun had already set. The nights are cool, not cold, at first but the chill sets in and each hour brings a little more need for a warm hat or a coat. The city of Valdosta, or town of Valdosta, however you want to look at it, is busy until about nine and then everything begins to settle down. People are already at work if they have to be, and they are home if they want to be, and by midnight there will be no one out who doesn’t have a reason to be.

After midnight, that’s when the true weirdness begins, and it will last for about five hours, until the early morning people begin to start their daily migrations to the gym and then to work, or just to work. From midnight until that point, however, there will be caffeine, and there will be more than a few glances at the cell phone to check the time, and more than a few wishes for the time to move forward more quickly, and a lot of yawning.

Downtown Valdosta doesn’t have an overabundance of foot traffic after midnight, but there are a few people out. Some go to work at odd hours, no set schedule, you can see them with coolers with lunches in them, safety vests, work boots on, a hard hat slung over the shoulder by a strap, or perhaps, a shovel riding shotgun over the handlebars of a bicycle. These are normal people, as far as we know, trying to make a living in some way. I just hope the shovel guy isn’t out looking for road kill.

A woman approached me as I came out of a convenience store and asked me if I would give her a ride. She was young, maybe in her early twenties, dark-skinned, sounded local, and pretty. I asked her where she was heading and she said, “Anywhere I can get twenty dollars” and she leered at me. I told her I didn’t have twenty dollars, and she replied she willing to go for a shorter trip, for ten bucks.

When I was in Basic Training they let us have a night out on the town, and I stayed in the barracks and read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. One of the guys got picked up by a woman in a bar. She took him to her hotel room and when he got his pants off her boyfriend came in. The poor Private, with his privates hanging out, jumped through a window to escape and wound up getting cut up by the glass and he lost his wallet in the process.

I’ve never thought a strange girl off the street was a good idea, to begin with.

One of the resident homeless guys, Ernie is still around. I first met him in 2006, and he looks like he’s aged poorly on the road. He’s fueled by alcohol and no matter how genuine he might sound, and he does, all he really wants is money for cheap beer. I bought him some canned goods one night at a truck stop and he tried to trade it in for beer after I left. The cashier ratted him out the next time I went in but I suspected it already.

There’s a man handing out tiny bibles and then explaining how much he spends buying them. I know better than to engage this type so I move past without a word.

In every niche, there are creatures who live there, survive there, and some are only passing through. The dawn still hasn’t arrived at six when we leave, but the morning traffic has picked up, and the night creatures disappear.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.